Off-Week #1

I can’t say that I’m enjoying this off week as much as I’d have liked. I started feeling cold-like symptoms on Tuesday, and have been suffering through them ever since. So far, I haven’t been completely incapacitated by them (I did take a half day from work in order to get some extra sleep on Wednesday, but that was it so far), and I’m hoping I’m on the mend. I was a little concerned because I had the same progression of symptoms I had back in October, but I also didn’t attempt to run an ultramarathon in the rain, so I’m thinking I might be on the mend.

Here’s how my week went:

Monday: Strength training
I did several reps of a rather complicated combined strength move I found on the internet when searching for “exercises for runners dumbbells.” I also did some planks (3×20 seconds) and wall sits (3×60 seconds), and then I did a yoga video.

Tuesday: Strength training
I did a circuit workout I found on, which I had to modify slightly because I don’t have an exercise ball. Also I had to do box jumps onto the basement stairs because I don’t have anything else sturdy to jump on, which made me hesitant. I did a yoga video and then went out to a nice dinner and walked around Bentleyville with my family. It was like 12F and windy as heck.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: Nothing
I lazed around trying to recover from my cold. Oh, and watched some hockey Friday night. That got the heart pumping.

Saturday: Hiking
I decided on Friday night that as long as I didn’t feel worse when I woke up in the morning, I was going to go on a short hike. I almost didn’t go, but then after I ate lunch, I felt better, and went on a 4 mile hike.

It was cold, but manageable. I was worried about getting cold because I wouldn’t be running hard, but it wasn’t a problem. I made sure to wear my super warm gloves (which I need to clean now, thanks to the deluge of snot from my poor nose) but other than that, I wore what I normally wear to run when it’s cold-ish. (I wasn’t bundled up the way I was when it’s really cold, of course.)

I hiked the Superior Hiking Trail, starting at Martin Road and heading back to town this time. It was still fairly icy in spots, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the scenery the same way I thought I’d be able to, but I still stopped to take a few pictures and check out a few views. Since it was icy (and sometimes the ice was covered in a thin layer of snow, so sketchy), I never really felt the urge to run and didn’t worry too much about my pace. It was very relaxing! This section is okay – it has a really nice stretch along Amity Creek, but then it joins up with a gravel road, goes between two cemeteries (kind of a downer), and then ends up on the street for awhile before going into Hartley. I only went 2 miles in before turning around, so I didn’t get onto the street. While I hiked, I had “Life is a Cabaret” in my head, probably because I was by cemeteries and I want that song played at my funeral.

I did feel kinda chilled and tired when I got home and through the evening, so I was worried I’d get up and feel sicker, but I didn’t!

Sunday: Hiking and ice skating
I got up decently early and was actually out on the trail by a little after noon. It’s a lot less stressful to get out for a hike than it is to get out for a run. I don’t know why – maybe this will help me stop getting so anxious about runs, and stop procrastinating? Maybe?

I wanted to go to Ely’s Peak, but I suspected approaching it from the Beck’s Road trailhead would be treacherous, due to the steep rocky climbs. I ended up starting at the Magney-Snively trailhead (heads up: Skyline Drive is open to the trailhead, but closed directly after it), and after 3 miles, still had probably half a mile to go to Ely’s Peak, so I skipped it. I was only planning on 6 miles, and it would have probably added 25 minutes to my hike to actually “summit” the peak. So I turned around. This section is tough on the way to Ely’s Peak, lots of uphills, and my legs were definitely feeling it. There were a couple of icy or otherwise sketchy sections that forced me to slow down, and on the way back, I somehow was able to catch myself just before my tailbone hit the ground. Yikes.

I enjoyed a bit more challenging hike, even if at times I felt pretty tired from the effort. U had a song for this hike, too: I couldn’t get the Bloodhound Gang’s “Bad Touch” out of my head today, for some reason.

After I got home, had a latte, and took a shower to warm up, I drove out to Pike Lake, where my dad had cleared a rink on the lake behind his house. I didn’t get there until 4:30, when the sun was already almost gone, but we had a great time skating in the twilight for an hour. I brought a stick and a puck, but he forgot his down in the Cities, so we just skated around and had fun talking, and then looking at the stars with an app once it was late enough for the stars to come out.

I’m really hoping I didn’t overdo it during the weekend, because I’m hoping to get back to strength training during the week (and do more hiking & skating next weekend!), and also making some lunches for myself. I haven’t had the energy to make food or do any meal planning, but I do need to get to the grocery store for my work potluck (once I figure out what I’m making, ugh).

Mangled Up In Tangled Up Knots

In an effort to improve my flexibility and to add some additional strength training, I am trying to do yoga.

I am really not good at it. My friend, who is a yoga teacher, said “No one is bad at yoga,” when I told her that. I disagree, I think that’s something they teach you at yoga teacher school to make clumsy stiffs keep coming back to classes.

I am bad at yoga partially because I have a bad attitude about it. I am not into the more spiritual aspects of it, and I find some of the terminology a little too new-agey for my taste. I do find the relaxation portions at the end very beneficial, but I don’t know about “lifting the heart” and “shining.” I am not still not sure what the yogi meant there.

I am also bad at yoga because my flexibility is probably the worst it has ever been. So, a good reason to do it, and I do feel slightly better even after only a few sessions.

I am practicing this yoga in the privacy of my own home, using Chromecast to show free YouTube yoga videos on my television. There are several downsides to this. First of all, there’s no one to correct my form, so I’m just doing everything wrong. There’s also no one to notice if I am taking a longer time to get into poses, so I get behind. I actually turned off the first video I tried yesterday because it was too fast to follow. I don’t have a yoga mat either, so I use a towel, which is not ideal. I don’t get any traction, and it doesn’t provide much padding. It’s just slightly better than lying on a wood floor. I feel like a yoga mat is like a gateway drug into retreats and public Ommming and inner peace, but I might have to get one anyway if I keep this up.

To choose which regimens to follow, I used the scientific practice of Googling “Yoga for Runners.” Once I have found a few I am certain I like, I’ll post some links, but I am still testing out some channels. I may try some non-running related ones that focus on the body overall, not just the legs, and maybe a few that are a little longer (the ones I have tried are around 20 minutes and some of that is jabbering at the beginning and end.)

I haven’t replaced my super-fancy strength workout of push-ups and sit-ups, I am still doing that irregularly, but it’s too basic, and doesn’t address my flexibility issues. I am not sure if yoga will actually make me a better runner, but it will help me recover better, I hope.